MOUTH OF WILSON, Va. (WJHL) – Grayson Highlands is known for the more than 100 wild ponies that roam the property freely, but many don’t realize that there is much more to do and see than just that.
At Grayson Highlands, there is one hike that rivals the rest; the Twin Pinnacle trail provides hikers with 2 scenic overlooks and a visit to the ‘Magic Tree’. However, getting to this hike can be difficult at this time of the year. The road up to the trailhead is usually closed until the spring, which means hikers have to use an extremely inclined spur trail up to Big Pinnacle. That spur trail is located at Massie Gap called the ‘Big Pinnacle Trail’, which should take you straight there.
One thing rangers want hikers to be aware of when hiking at Grayson Highlands State Park… bears. They say they want people to be aware that “we are in their house, this is where they live”. Tips that they recommend remembering are: Leave your dog at home, don’t run if you’re faced with a bear, and always try to stay visible and loud.
One of the first stops you’ll have while hiking up to Little Pinnacle is the ‘Magic Tree’. This tree is extremely unique because the tree expanded its’ root system to grow around and threw a bolder. This spot provides a great photo opportunity for families.
Another thing you’ll notice while hiking up the mountain… wooden storm shelters. There are multiple of these shelters across the park, which gives hikers a place to take shelter in the case of severe weather.
Rangers say storms move in very quickly at the higher elevations, so it’s important to be prepared for the worst, and always be prepared for much colder temperatures.
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If you take the left side of the trail first, you’ll run into Little Pinnacle first, which is the highest point in Grayson Highlands State Park at 5,089 feet. It’s important to remember that Little Pinnacle may be named ‘little’ but it is taller than Big Pinnacle, with better views; Big Pinnacle sits at 5,068ft and has a bigger rock for visitors to stand on. From Little Pinnacle hikers are able to see 3 states, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina.
While the Twin Pinnacle Trail is highly recommended to explore, many people come to Grayson Highlands to see the wild ponies. Rangers say the Rhododendron Trail off of Massie Gap provides the best opportunities to see the animals. That hike is very short and crosses from state to federal property. However, before you head out to see those wild ponies, rangers want you to know a few things: